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Man jailed for child sex offences

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A MAN who had a computer tower hidden in his wardrobe when police searched his home has been jailed for making and sharing indecent images of children, as well as inciting a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers executed a warrant at the Ystrad Meurig home of Dean Lyster Harper, aged 61, after receiving intelligence that he had uploaded and distributed indecent images of children online.

A number of electronic devices were seized, including a computer tower which he had kept in a wardrobe. Digital forensic investigators from the Digital Communications and Cyber Crime Unit (DCCU) examined a laptop, mobile phone and the computer tower, looking for evidence that Harper had committed these crimes.

As well as examining the hard drives of these devices, analysts were able to look back through Harper’s messenger conversations, where they found that he had downloaded more than 1,300 indecent images of children between category A – the most extreme – and category C, some of which he had been distributing.

From the evidence gathered, it could also be seen that Harper was using chat rooms to talk to people who told him they were girls as young as 10, and continued to ask them to send images of an indecent nature.

Following CPS advice, he was charged with six counts of making or distributing indecent images of a child, and one count of attempting to cause or incite a girl under 13 engage in sexual activity, and was summonsed to court.

On Friday, June 22, Harper was sentenced to two years in jail and was placed on the sex offenders register. He had a sexual harm prevention order placed on him for 10 years.

Officer in case PC Damon Watmough said: “This is an excellent result, and I would like to thank the investigation team for their thorough examination of Harper’s devices.

“This is an offender who has been committing the despicable offence of making and sharing indecent images of children from their home with the belief he wouldn’t be caught. He had no previous offences, and although he admitted to viewing images of young girls online, it took a full investigation using the expertise of our DCCU to uncover the scale of his wrongdoing.”

DS Mathew Davies, of Dyfed-Powys Police’s Police Online Investigation Team, added: “This sentencing shows the impact the force can have when investigative teams work together to secure a conviction.

“By going through not only Harper’s hard drives, where images were saved, but his messenger history, we have been able to secure charges against him which have resulted in a custodial sentence.

”Viewing and sharing indecent images of children online is not a victimless offence – children somewhere have been groomed or forced into taking these images, which are then distributed online. We urge anyone with information about people involved in offences of this nature to report it immediately, ether by calling Dyfed-Powys Police on 101 or speaking anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

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Police investigate after child dies in west Wales caravan fire

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DYFED POWYS POLICE is investigating the circumstances around a fire at a caravan in Ceredigion in which a child died.

Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Cockwell said: “We received a call at 5.35am today (Sunday, January 19), reporting a fire at a caravan at Ffair Rhos.

“Enquiries so far lead us to believe that three people were inside the caravan at the time the fire broke out. These were a father and two children – a four-year-old, and a little boy who we believe to have been aged three.

“While the father and the eldest child were able to get out of the caravan, the younger of the siblings was tragically found deceased inside.

“Our thoughts are with his family at this extremely difficult and traumatic time, and specialist officers have been put in place to support them.

“The father is currently in a stable condition in hospital, while the four-year-old is critical but stable. Both suffered burns.

“The Criminal Investigation Department is investigating the cause of the fire, and a major incident room has been set up at Aberystwyth Police Station.

“We are also working closely with Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, who were in attendance when our officers arrived. We would like to thank our colleagues at the fire service for their professionalism in dealing with what turned out to be a highly traumatic incident.

“We would like to speak to anyone who was in the Ffair Rhos area around the time of the fire, who might have information that could help our investigation.

“This was a tragic incident, and we will be doing all we can to find answers for the family, whose world will have been torn apart by this morning’s events.”

If you have any information that could help officers, call the Criminal Investigation Department on 101, using Storm reference 39 of January 19.

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Police issue warning to community over ‘fake beggars’

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POLICE in Aberystwyth are warning the community about a fraudulent group who have been travelling to the area to beg.

Many residents and visitors have donated cash believing members of the group are genuinely in need.

PC Phil Woodland: “I’m proud to work in a town where people want to help each other, but in this case, their kindness is being exploited.

“We’ve tried working with the group to ensure they have the support they need, and through this effort it’s become clear they are not genuinely homeless. We are using legal powers where possible and necessary to deal with the issue.

“Giving money to someone who is begging is a personal choice, however, on this occasion the community is being misled. At the end of the day, these people are returning to their homes – they are essentially scamming people.”

Those involved are described as men and women of Romanian descent, aged between 30 and 50. Police say they visit Aberystwyth on the train or bus, and return home to Cardiff at the end of the day.

The situation is being monitored by the neighbourhood policing team, and anyone with information is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police online: http://bit.ly/dppReportOnline, by email: contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

If you are concerned about someone you believe is sleeping rough, StreetLink exists to help connect them with the local services that can provide support: https://www.streetlink.org.uk/

Shelter Cymru offers practical advice on how to help someone who is begging, or you believe is homeless, on their website: https://sheltercymru.org.uk/7-ways/

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RNLI in Wales urges people to stay safe as Storm Brendan hits

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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging people to stay safe near the Welsh coast as severe weather could make our seas and coastlines particularly dangerous.

Lifesaving charity, the RNLI, is encouraging people to exercise extreme caution if visiting the shoreline, especially along exposed cliffs, seafronts and piers.

The expected strong winds and severe gales pose a severe safety risk to those visiting the coast.

Named Storm Brendan by Met Eireann, it swept eastwards across Ireland before making its way through the rest of the UK this morning with yellow wind warning in place for most of the Welsh coast.

Chris Cousens, RNLI Regional Water Safety Lead for Wales said:

‘This rough weather could make visiting parts of the Welsh coastline treacherous and bring very dangerous sea conditions.

‘Sadly, around 150 people lose their lives on British and Irish coasts each year and over half of these people didn’t plan on ever entering the water. Slips, trips and falls can be a major factor in these kinds of incidents.’

If you see someone else in danger in the water, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. If you have something that floats that they can hold on to, throw it to them. Don’t go in the water yourself – too many people drown trying to save others.

The charity, which provides a search and rescue service around the UK and Ireland, is facing its own Perfect Storm as demand for its services has increased but it is facing a shortfall in funds. This past year, the RNLI has been busier than ever, and stormy conditions can mean additional call outs for the already extremely busy volunteer crews. Whatever the weather, RNLI volunteers will still be on call to rescue those at difficulty at sea.

The RNLI’s major new fundraising appeal, The Perfect Storm, which aims to help the charity get back to living within its means, is running throughout November and December. To find out more or to donate visit RNLI.org/ThePerfect Storm.

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